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The Last Queen
The Last Queen
Author: C. W. Gortner
Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country's throne, has been for centuries an enigmatic figure shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time? In his stunning new novel, C. W. Gortner challenges the myths about Qu...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780345501851
ISBN-10: 0345501853
Publication Date: 5/5/2009
Pages: 400
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 33 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 2
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reviewed The Last Queen on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a fabulous story about Juana. I have read a lot about her sister, Catherine of Aragon, but was fascinated by her story. The book details many of her relationships and shows why she might have gone "mad" as she is supposed to have been.
reviewed The Last Queen on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The book is captivating leaving you falling in love with the main heroine Juana and her hand maidens. You follow her through an arranged marriage, love, abuse, royal intrigue, conspiracies, and honor. The book is written so well that you honestly believe it for the whole truth. I screamed at and despised her enemies with her. I cried and celebrated her triumphs. And prayed for this Queen's happy ending. But the sad part is it is historical fiction and the book stays true to the ending. I could not put this book down.
reviewed The Last Queen on + 3389 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
In telling the story of the legendary Juana the Mad and her husband, Philip the Fair, Christopher Gortner has brilliantly recreated fifteenth century Spain at the height of its grandeur and woven a vibrant tapestry of love and hate in a court rife with intrigue. As the story opens, thirteen-year old Juana, the future Queen of Spain, witnesses her parents, the warrior monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand expel the Moors and unite Castile and Aragon. Soon afterwards she reaches marriageable age and is betrothed against her will to the Hapsburg prince Philip the Fair. From there, The Last Queen moves between the courts of Flanders and Spain to unfold an intricate tale of royal intrigue laced with love and cruelty. But while Juana may flee one court for the other, she cannot flee her destiny. Gortner writes with masterful skill of the love-and-hate relationship that produced the Emperor Charles V and Juana's grandson, Phillip II of Spain and brings to life an extraordinary queen in an exotic land at an unforgettable time in history.
reviewed The Last Queen on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I don't know why it took me so long to read this book it has been on my shelf for at least 2 years. I saw the accolades about C.W. Gortner The Last Queen. Several of my favorite authors had said it was a lovely book, beautifully written, about a Queen little known in the U.S. I just have to say that I didn't pick it up for a number of reasons. The main reason I just don't have much interest in the history of Spain. The second being that the time period the rise of the Tudors, hell the Tudors themselves have just been done to death and not always well.

So I was surprised just how much I like getting to know Juana, and her story is not a happy one. Any student of history knows no royal princess it seems had a life to envy. They were just another weapon in their family's royal arsenal. Juana was the third child of Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain, never expected to rule. She just hoped to find a husband that would value her and perhaps one she could find affection for.

The archduke Philip of Flanders was the man chosen for her, and at first she had found love, she felt that her husband valued her for herself. But Philip was a man of his time he was had mistresses and wanted power. He was after all the heir to the Holy Roman Empire, and unfortunately his father was in good health. He was ambitious and easily lead, and when Juana's brother Juan dies, as did her sister Isabella who dies in child birth. Her son lives but the baby soon dies, leaving Juana heir to Spain, Philip was not content to stand by and let Juana rule, leaving him as just her consort. Her parents didn't trust the Hapsburg's, and Philip is courted by the French just cemented their beliefs.

Juana is betrayed by everyone she loves and trusted, she is perhaps the most tragic figure of this great age of discovery.

Gortner's research took 6 years and that shows. He is a fine writer in that way good authors flesh out their characters. But I wanted more. 3 1/2 stars.
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reviewed The Last Queen on + 239 more book reviews
I hesitated to read this book. It is not my style.

I have to tell you what a joy and pleasure it what to read. The best read in a long time.

I felt like I was really there [a fly on the wall] listening to everything that happened in Juana's life. It was a human life with all the intricacies, mysteries, intrigue, love and hate.

The love she felt for her husband then the betrayal. To steel herself to continue to the end and devote herself to her country. Then the ultimate betrayal by her father. What men did for power in those days and still do today.

All the human drama, secrets, upheavals in Spain's history, is rich and enlightening. Another way to look at the life of a Queen supposedly crazy.